Friday, August 29, 2014

Lately || First Day Back

Yesterday was my first day back at work! The teacher whose class I'm in, had a little treat for all of us educational assistants in her room. Needless to say, I'm set for candy for the next couple months. It was awesome to arrive at the school and see how different the classroom looked. We switched rooms and it's so much more open and inviting. There's more daylight pouring in too, which is something I need to function properly during the day. It really feels like we never had 2 months off, and more like only a week!

Lunch was provided for us, which was really nice. We had pizza, and then we had a professional development session on Google for the afternoon. I finally learned how to use Google Drive and Google Docs! Who needs Microsoft Office when Google basically offers all the programs for free?

To top off my first day, I arrived home to a fun mail day! I received a cheque (not a bill, wahoo!), some snail mail from my best friend in British Columbia, and my reusable lunch bags from Max & Ozzie's! I'm super excited to pack my lunch in it next that weird?

I purchased a pink chevron printed one, and a turquoise flower print. I also started using my new day planner. I colour coded everything from appointments to bills to BBQs! 

I'm looking forward to working with the student that I'm assigned to, and just enjoying the school year. The only thing I'm not looking forward to is how little energy I have after work. For instance, yesterday there weren't even any of the students there and I barely had enough energy to make dinner. Oi vey. I'm hoping to finally be back in to an appropriate sleeping schedule, and that should help with my lack of energy. Regardless, I have to figure something out!

Alright, on to another day of meetings, laminating, and prepping for my student's success!

xo. Nicole

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Goals || Fall

Today is officially the last day of my summer vacation. It's bittersweet! I'm looking forward to working again, and having the structure of a Monday-Friday schedule, but I'm going to miss cuddling all day with Gunner. To get myself pepped up for going back to work, I've devised a lists of things that I want to get done by the end of Fall. 

I'm in love with the scents, clothing, weather, food, and products of Fall. Coffee on the way to work, while wearing a cozy cardigan and scarf. Baking pies, crock pot dinners, spiced lattes, candles and mugs. Ugh, why is Fall the best season?

  • Run twice a week - I know it's going to be difficult for me, as I'm always exhausted after work, but I have to suck it up.
  • Perfect a gluten free pie recipe - I have no idea how well gluten free flour does in pie crust, but we shall see.
  • Save as much money as we can - Buying a house soon, so we have a LOT to save up for by the end of the year.
  • Begin using my day planner - ie. stay organized! Bills, birthdays, coffee dates, appointments, etc..
  • Send out snail mail to 3 friends - Interested? Shoot me an email with your address and we can swap some snail mail!
  • Write and schedule blog posts for the weeks on Sundays - Do you have any go-to post ideas for when you're having writers block? 

What are your goals for Fall? As always, feel free to share a link to your post in the comments!

xo. Nicole

Monday, August 25, 2014

Weeks End || August 25

1|| Post workout snack. Apples and peanut butter! I've been trying to walk Gunner more, and to go outside more while I'm not working out with my friend this month. I use Run Keeper and My Fitness Pal! Do you?
2|| I woke up super cranky on Friday, and I have no idea why. I treated myself to the UK version of Cosmopolitan. I really hate those days where everything anyone does annoys me!
3|| A little treat for myself. I may be on a fitness journey, but sometimes you just need a little something to keep you going through the day.
4|| A block party/bonfire at my sister-in-law's, followed by a bonfire, and then a baby shower the next day. I really hope when we buy a house/condo that we have a big enough yard for our own fire pit.

1|| I participated in another link up, Closet Confidential! It was fun. Did you participate?
I realized that I didn't post much this week, but my summer vacation is quickly coming to an end and I'm preparing as much as I can before my vacation is up!

1|| Rebekah let us know the good and bad about her maternity leave being up (I can totally picture myself feeling the same when that time comes for me!)
2|| Shelby shared an awesome outfit post. It's refreshing to see an outfit post of something I'd actually be able to wear!
3|| Amanda shared the moments that made her feel most alive! It's a great read, and it's something that I think we should all think about once in a while.

I'm linking up my Weeks End post with Beth from Oak & Oats! You can check out the link-up here!

xo. Nicole

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Closet Confidential

Happy Wednesday! I'm excited to be linking up with In Its Time + Dearest Love for The Circle. This month's challenge is a closet confidential. We rifle through our closets and try our bests to answer the questions provided! Their theme for this link up is a vlog, but I really don't know how (and am too embarrassed) to film myself, so pictures it is!

My wardrobe isn't very big (typical answer, isn't it?) so I can't really answer all 6 questions. I answered what I could! On that note, I have a few core pieces that are worn every week. It's mostly full of comfortable clothing, with a few pieces of not-so-comfortable-but-necessary items, like dress pants.


1. What is the newest item in your closet?

I was grocery shopping one Monday by myself and found some $7 v-neck shirts! How could I pass that up? They had a lot of fun colours, but I still went with navy and a white one. 

2. What is the oldest item in your closet?

Ah, my 4-5 year old hoodie. UFV stands for University of the Fraser Valley. It's a University in Abbotsford, BC and I went for one semester. I was totally in the zone during that first semester that I had to buy a hoodie. It's held out this long, and there's not even a loose thread on this thing! It's perfect now for these terrible Alberta winters.

3. What is the least expensive item in your closet?

100% would be this cardigan that I found at Value Village. Can you consider VV thrifting? I found this one that I wear a lot, as it has short sleeves, whereas most cardigans have long sleeves. I found another cardigan during that trip, it's full of stripes, but it was a few dollars more than this one. It's definitely the biggest bargain in my closet, too!

4. What are you current favourites in your closet?

Helllllooooo maxi skirts! I have 4 in total, but these two colours/designs are my favourites! The other two are solid black, and navy/beige horizontal stripes. Maxi skirts are one of my favourite styles, but I'm not quite where I want to be in my fitness journey to be comfortable wearing them right now. One of my main goals in my fitness journey is to feel comfortable in my clothes, so these are a great motivation!

xo. Nicole

Monday, August 18, 2014

Week's End || August 18

1|| I painted my nails and afterwards, I realized it had the same name as Kaelah's new baby boy, Linden!
2|| Chipped all the old polish off out of boredom, and repainted using another Julep polish, Lorenzana. Love it! It looks nude/grey before, but in the light it's looks grey/purple!
3|| It's been SO hot and humid here in Alberta, so I found the biggest glass I could find and filled it with ice and water. Then I high tailed it to my air conditioned bedroom!
4|| I baked some gluten free chocolate banana chocolate chip muffins. They were pretty darn good that we ate them all, and I had to make more to bring to our nephew's birthday party yesterday. They went quickly there, too.

1|| Here's the post on those delicious gluten free muffins!
2|| I shared part 2 of my fitness journey. 

This past week, we also got pre-approved for a mortgage! We'll officially be house shopping/buying in January. We're pretty darn excited and I can't wait to be in our own house. I can only imagine the get togethers, and Gunner will have a big yard to play in, without being on a leash. After we're settled in our new place, I'm sure we can give in to my baby fever ;)

Be sure to check out where I linked up my post, on Oak & Oats' weeks end link up!

xo. Nicole

Friday, August 15, 2014

MFJ v. 02 || My Favourite Blogs

A huge part of my fitness journey has been finding inspiration and motivation. There are a lot of places nowadays to find those things, but it's hard finding what's right for you, or for me! I notice a lot of people using Pinterest to repin quotes and such, but that never really did anything for me. I like blogging, but I love reading blogs more. 

When I began my journey, which you can read about here, I came across a few blogs that helped get me started. They contributed to pushing me to go to those work outs that my friend offered me, and continue to push me through this month (August) while I can't afford the personal training. 

Pictures are c/o Glisten Fit and Livy Love

There are countless fitness blogs that offer a lot of inspiration, but these two really stuck out for me! 

1|| The picture on the left is Jessica! She blogs over at Glisten Fit and it's her own personal training business! She knocks it out of the park with how wonderful and helpful her and her blog really are. She posts monthly calendars, recipes, Fit Friday workouts, I friggin' love it!

2|| The picture on the right is Diana. She blogs at Livy Loves to Run! She has lost a considerable amount of weight just from exercising and changing her diet. She's just over 100lbs lost, looks SO good, and her face just glows! She is definitely a huge inspiration for my weight loss. 

By me sharing my favourite motivational blogs, I hope that you find some energy and drive in to helping yourself if you need it, too!

Source (the only source I could find for it!)

xo. Nicole

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Yummy! || GF Banana Chocolate Muffins

Oh man, these muffins did NOT taste gluten all! They are so moist, and so delicious. They were really easy to make, too. I came across the recipe while I was browsing some blogs (like every morning) and drinking my coffee. I figured that even though it's friggin' hot in our house, I still want to bake, and darn it, I want muffins!

I used a Pyrex bowl that I found in the cupboards at my dad's house. In the last couple years, I have fallen in love with Pyrex! I feel like I'm baking with my grandma or my mom when I use the dishes on my own. This bowl was just big enough to hold all the wet and dry ingredients together. Cute and functional.

My muffins turned out a little differently than the original recipe, and that may have been from the oodles of chocolate chips that I added. They're a wonderful addition, and next time I'm thinking pecans too, no? You can find the delicious recipe on Linen + Leaves. She even made it easy to print so that you don't have to lug your laptop around like I did. 

What have you baked lately?

xo. Nicole

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week's End || August 11

1|| Gunner being Gunner. This was early morning, and he wanted to play with his toys!
2|| Snail mail! I prepped it and I'll be sending some out later today when I go grocery shopping!

1|| I shared what's in my makeup bag! What's in yours?
2|| Love poutines? Gluten free? So do I! I shared a quick and simple recipe here.

1|| I came across this post, and it hit me hard. I am so glad that someone finally wrote it out.
2|| Amanda did the accent vlog challenge! I'm too technically challenged to film anything, and too nervous to post a video of myself on here just yet.
3|| Arielle challenged a pin on Pinterest. Vinegar while painting your nails?!

As every week, I'm linking up with Beth from Oak & Oats for Week's End posts. 

xo. Nicole

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Yummy! || Gluten Free Poutine

One of the best things in Canada, is the poutine. I guess this isn't really a "real" one, because it's not with cheese curds, but it's made with shredded cheese. Does that count for anything? 

One of the faults of a poutine is that it's made with gluten in the gravy, which doesn't agree with my husband. There are gravy recipes that can be made with corn starch instead (and they're tasty!) but sometimes it's just easier to get the packaged stuff. Clubhouse finally came out with a gluten free gravy mix, and it's so delicious! 

You'll need:
- 1 package fries
- Shredded cheese
- 1 package Clubhouse gluten free gravy mix 
- Green onions, chopped
- Any seasonings that you prefer

To make, it's pretty simple. 
- Bake the fries as directed on the package
- Make the gravy according to the package (1 cup water, add mix and stir until boiling + simmer for 4 minutes)
- When out of the oven, put the cheese on top immediately
- Add gravy on top
- Sprinkle some chopped green onions on top

I also added some garlic plus seasoning and some salt for more taste. You can add whatever seasonings that you like, though!

I hope you enjoy!
xo. Nicole

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What's in my Makeup Bag?

I'm not one to wear a ton of makeup, but I do keep a bag! Apparently, I like the colour pink when it comes to this stuff, though. I never wear foundation, as I hate how it feels and I've always rubbed it on something to the point of embarrassing myself, be it a sleeve or something. I only wear white eyeliner in the corners of my eyes, and some mascara. I have some lip stain that I've never touched, but it feels good knowing that I have it just in case. 

My makeup bag also mostly contains hair accessories and necessities. Ponytails, little elastics for those small braids and subtle hair styles, bobby pins galore, etc.. The red and white bobby pins are from Little Honey Pies. I bought these so long ago, and now she makes floral pins and headbands! So cute!

The necklace is from outsideeverywhere. I won a giveaway and used some shop credit. I like keeping it in my makeup bag instead of with my other jewelry because it makes a great last minute accessory if I really feel like dressing up. On the right, it's my favourite eye liner, ever! It's Annabelle, and it works like a dream. I've tried NYX and others, and none of them blend as well, or are as white. I just put some in the corner of my eyes, and smudge to try and make my eyes look bigger.

My actual bag was a gift from my friend at work, who also did my makeup at my wedding. She surprised me with it when she came by the morning of my big day, and it was so nice. She stuffed it with all sorts of goodies, including the nail file pictured above. I'm not sure where she got it, but it's lovely and fits quite a few items.

I'm a huge creep and would love to know what you keep in your makeup bag!

xo. Nicole

Monday, August 4, 2014

Week's End || August 4

1|| Koshka being as adorable as ever. My younger sister was out for the week and snapped some iPhone pictures of Koshka and the frog!
2|| We found a frog in our yard! It had been so long since I had seen one in person. He hopped away eventually, but it's for best otherwise I think Gunner would have gulped him up.

3|| Gunner wouldn't stop jumping on my sister and licking her face, and she wanted to enjoy the air conditioner in our room, so we locked him up for a couple minutes. That face!

1. What really goes on behind my Instagram photos.
2. I wrote my first difficult blog post. If even one person takes something from it, I'm happy!
3. Some of my favourite free downloads to make your desktop super pretty.

1. Sam shared some reading material for August.
2. Shelby always looks so gorgeous in her outfit posts!
3. A day in the life of Amanda! I'm totally going to do this soon.
4. The first two months of blogging - so much to learn!

As you can probably tell, I updated the layout again. It's so simple and clean, and really focuses on the posts and pictures now. One day I'll get a way better camera, but right now my iPhone will have to do. All the pictures in today's post were taken by my younger sister with her iPhone!

Every Monday, I link up my Week's End post with Beth from Oak & Oats! There are so many wonderful posts to read through and new bloggers to check out.

How was your last week of July?

xo. Nicole

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Favourites || Wallpapers

One of my favourite things lately is downloading and changing up my desktop wallpaper. There are so many wonderful ladies who create free downloads for us to use, and I wanted to share some of my favourites with you. Enjoy!

As you can probably tell, I'm a huge fan of Liz from Magpie Co. She used to be under the name srslyliz but recently rebranded! Her work is always amazing. Kory Woodard is also really good, and I almost always download her freebies. 

I hope you found a new lovely wallpaper for your desktop! I know it always makes me feel better and almost more organized when my desktop looks pretty.

Do you have a favourite designer for your desktop wallpapers?

xo. Nicole